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Great Yarmouth Borough Council will not be giving away free sanitary products in its offices

PUBLISHED: 13:00 14 December 2018

Great Yarmouth Town Hall.
Photo: Andy Darnell

Great Yarmouth Town Hall. Photo: Andy Darnell

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A bid to equip toilets in council offices in Great Yarmouth with free sanitary products has been knocked back by the borough’s Conservative group.

Kerry Robinson-Payne,  deputy mayor of Great Yarmouth Picture: James BassKerry Robinson-Payne, deputy mayor of Great Yarmouth Picture: James Bass

Members of the Labour group on Great Yarmouth Borough Council had proposed to make the essentials available free of charge at places such as the town hall and housing offices.

However, the motion was instead amended by the Tory group, an amendment not accepted by the Labour group but still voted through.

The amendment, which was tabled by Conservative councillor Penny Carpenter, said: “We call upon this council to task the homes and neighbourhood committee to explore how to alleviate period poverty through working with partner organisation.”

The amendment also said the council would commit up to £5,000 a year towards purchasing sanitary products, which could then be distributed through schemes such as The Tricky Period.

Penny Carpenter of Great Yarmouth Borough Council Pic: Norfolk County Council.Penny Carpenter of Great Yarmouth Borough Council Pic: Norfolk County Council.

Mrs Carpenter said: “I speak myself as somebody who has lived in poverty when I was a young woman. I know all too well what not having the funds to buy essentials is like.

“I do not believe period poverty is anything new, but it is something that in the past has not been talked about, so I am pleased it is now on the agenda.”

The original motion, which was deferred from the previous meeting, was tabled by Labour councillor and deputy mayor Kerry Robinson-Payne.

It called for the council to equip the toilets of council buildings such as the town hall with the products free of charge, while also called on the council to write to the prime minister asking the government to remove VAT from the products at the earliest opportunity.

She said: “People in the borough are already having to rely tremendously on foodbanks and some women are having to choose between eating and having sanitary products.

“Young women and girls are having to rely on using toilet paper and in worst cases even newspaper for makeshift pads and this can’t go on.”

However, questions were asked about how this would be financed and who would provide the products, leading to the amendment being tabled.

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